It doesn’t take a business genius to figure out that a dealer can’t survive on just one product. Especially a low-volume three-door mini car. It is a good thing then for Fiat that a lot of $1 million + Fiat Studios were financed by large dealers.
These dealers have been complaining about lack of new product. The Abarth (and Alfa Romeos, eventually) is coming but it is clear they need more than that. Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne is throwing them a bone with a new model geared specifically toward the United States-market. It is has been said to be a five-door model of the 500. Some news has come from Automotive News that sheds a little bit more light on this model, including its name – 500L.
It will be a five-seater hatchback, aimed at expanding Fiat’s volume. Maybe this could hit 50,000 sales a year – but we don’t think they’ll be apt to repeat making a projection that is too optimistic. The new 500L will replace the Idea in Fiat’s European lineup, and underpinning it will be the platform used on the existing Punto.
The five-seater is mostly geared for the North American market. There will be an even longer seven-seat (!) version sold in Europe as well. Fiat thinks American customers won’t opt for a seven-seat vehicle that is that small. We think they are right.
The 500L is said to share design cues with the standard 500 that it shares its nomenclature with. AN reports that it will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It is evidence of more of a direction for Fiat in the U.S. Fiat recently said it wouldn’t go higher than the C-segment in the U.S – meaning it will exclusively focus on small vehicles. Given its European heritage in the minds of most consumers, that is exactly where it should be.